Submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into the Illegal Migration Bill
Amongst Muslim communities in the UK, asylum seekers and refugees are often amongst the most vulnerable and face significant barriers to accessing legal protections and support. Muslim asylum seekers are also one of the groups most likely to be disproportionately impacted by the provisions found within the Illegal Migration Bill in light of its heavy focus on those arriving through irregular routes, such as those crossing the Channel on small boats. As will be discussed below, Muslims are significantly overrepresented in such crossings due to the lack of safe routes for people from Muslim majority countries to seek asylum in the UK.
Consequently, Community Policy Forum’s contribution to this inquiry reflects our focus on the ways in which the bill will impact the rights of Muslim asylum seekers, however, much of our analysis within this submission remains relevant to asylum seekers as a whole, regardless of religious identity.
Ultimately, we firmly believe that the bill will dangerously infringe upon the human rights of those arriving in the UK through irregular routes whilst also contravening the UK’s international human rights obligations. It is noteworthy that the Home Secretary’s statement attached to the bill is unable to confirm that the provisions within it are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), thereby acknowledging that the bill will likely lead to breaches of our international human rights obligations.
Moreover, this bill is representative of an overarching legislative trajectory over recent years that appears intent upon weakening our domestic human rights framework. Certainly, many of the provisions found within the bill echo those found in the currently shelved Bill of Rights, which itself would irreparably damage our human rights protections, would undermine executive accountability, create legal uncertainty, and violate our international obligations.
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